My friend Alisa just posted a video about the house her family used to live in in Fresno. It made me recall my first childhood home, on Ash Lane.
My parents bought this house in 1966, a modest split level home on an enormous pie shaped lot on a cul-de-sac. It had 3 bedrooms, and mine looked out over the huge (flat, of course-this was the Midwest) backyard through eyelet curtains. In the yard there was a screened porch which hosted dinner at the picnic table every night in the summer, and lots and lots of grass to mow. There were 2 apple trees which bore rotten fruit, and 2 cherry trees which grew those super sour cherries wonderful for making pies.
There probably wasn't a more extreme example of suburbia around, but my somewhat sheltered "Leave it to Beaver" lifestyle was not just a product of the just house, but rather the home. It could have happened anywhere.
Sentimentality towards our houses is well entrenched in our family, with my father driving us by the house he grew up in for 30 years after it was sold. When we moved from the Ash Lane house in 1979, we drove by every Sunday on the way home from church. I was completely devastated a few years later when I watched the house burn in a major fire, later learning that the family dog died in my old bedroom. Even worse, just last year I felt the horrific pain of the same owners when their son took his own life in the backyard.
I find it difficult to marry the extremes of memories, knowing the horrible memories the current owners must carry in their hearts. I hope they have had enough good times to outweigh the bad, and that I never forget the magic innocence of that life.